Congratulations to Shane McGowan, who has published his braided essay, “Braided Blues,” with the national undergraduate literary journal Catfish Creek. (See the posting from September 13, below, for more information about the journal). “I wrote [the essay] last year,” writes Shane, “as my final piece for Dr. Sainsbury’s course on the lyric essay. It introduces my experience with the blues, how I encountered it as a form of music and why I was drawn to it, and then sets about defining and describing what the blues does and how, and trying to reproduce that in essay form . . . I tried to pay a lot of attention to rhythm within the sections of prose, but, to complement that, there are four original verses written in blues form justified to the right hand side of the page and kind of woven throughout the piece.”
Shane, who is currently studying abroad at NIU Galway, notes that the experience of writing for publication changed the way he looked at his work. “Before submitting . . . I read the piece back over and had to make some additional changes, because it seemed different to be submitting it for publication rather than for a grade. The weight of the word ‘publication’ really gave me a different perspective on what I wanted to reveal in the piece and I became more critical of myself.”
Korey Williams ’12 has had five of his poems–“Galatea,” “Libations,” “Memory Foam,” “Repass,” and “water burial”–accepted for publication in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry. “With these poems,” Korey writes, “which are part of a lyric narrative I’m composing, I seek to evoke ways in which the eroticism of trauma–specifically memories of rape, violence, and suicide–produces displaced, disembodied subjects.”
Professor Robert Bray was featured on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront last week. Taking the upcoming release of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln as an occasion to consider Barack Obama’s reelection in historical context, interviewer Tom Foreman asked the nationally recognized Lincoln scholar what advice Lincoln might have had for Obama as he moves into a second term. Bob suggested that Lincoln might have offered three lessons to Obama:
- “Make your enemies into friends.” Lincoln was adept at changing the minds of his political opponents. “He was able to keep his eye on the prize,” Bob says, “which means he was able to disassociate himself from personal attacks.”
- “Be mild but firm.” Lincoln could exert political pressure to accomplish the goals he considered important for the nation, but he could do so without riling the opposition. “He could talk without heat to his political opponents.”
- “Take the long view.” Lincoln looked beyond the Civil War to consider the long-term implications of the end of slavery, and he tried to shape the political discourse of the day to serve long-term ends. “He believed firmly, I think, that if we put our heads to it and we put our wills to it, the American people could be the shining example of equality for the world.”
A recording of the segment and a parallel print article are posted on the CNN site.